Sunday, October 9, 2016

258. Baffled that many support Trump

It is now October and I continue to be flabbergasted by the candidacy of Donald Trump. The things Trump says and does, and the extent in which people support him, leaves me almost speechless.  Remarkably, he has a real chance to win, even without the support of many reasonable Republicans and the unprecedented warnings from many conservative newspapers.

It’s more than just being a political outsider as many of his supporters claim. There are lots of social divides—race, age, sex, social philosophy, religion, guns and wealth, just to name a few. Individuals have a hierarchy of values that they adhere to in managing these alliances.

When it comes to social philosophy, I regularly argue for the liberal perspective. And while there are a number of issues that I am very passionate about, there are also many opposing arguments that I respect. I may not adopt those arguments, but at least I understanding the basis for making them.

It is the same for politicians. There are many Republican elected officials who, although I may differ with them on significant issues, I have tremendous respect. If an elected official is of high character—that is, honestly doing what he or she feels is best for their community—I can embrace the political differences. And that is the same for their supporters.

For example, in previous presidential elections, I respected Mitt Romney and John McCain as being dedicated to public service. Although I didn’t agree with their view of America—especially compared to the vision of Barack Obama—I didn’t question their integrity.

Of course, Sarah Palin is a different story and I never imagined we would have a presidential election featuring a candidate for which I had such little regard. Until now.

And it is not just Trump, it is also his surrogates and followers. I am not going to rehash all the negative values that Trump embraces. I have accomplished that in previous columns and that information is widely available. Those opposing Trump are well aware of his deplorable character, while his supporters decided a long time ago to look the other way.

It is just unfathomable to me that so many people are willing to vote for Trump. I know many Republicans will support their candidate no matter who is nominated (the Democrats have a similar faction), but I always thought that a large percentage of the electorate who would vote in the best interest of the country. Hillary Clinton is not my first choice either, but come on.

And that leads me back to the argument of many supporters that Trump is anti-establishment. While that is true, especially compared to Clinton, the support for Trump is deeper than that. There are more cultural divides, some of which voters may not want to admit, that are driving the support for Trump. Sure, many are mesmerized by the apparent success and power of Trump, but many are just plain angry.

Their anger is not about the political establishment—if it were, they would be voting members of Congress out of office at a record pace. The anger is rooted in race, nationality, religion, fear and guns. Some even still appear to be angry about the election of an intellectual black president. It is a dim sentiment of America that troubles my perspective of its citizenry.

As tensions continue to rise, the election can’t come soon enough. As the campaign lingers, and more and more is revealed about Trump, it getting increasingly difficult to understand his supporters. It is though they are endorsing his undesirable character while also adopting his narcissistic and vengeful philosophy of never admitting mistake. In this respect, it is getting difficult to separate the vote from the voter.